With all this warm, not so wintery weather, it seems that all the choughs are becoming very attentive to one another. This is good news for pair bonds and for our team to acknowledge potential candidates for breeding this year. We’re happy to see that our eleven pairs from last year are starting to rekindle their bonds again, ready for the breeding season. But surely, it’s definitely too early for all these feeding courtship behaviours! Apart from our eleven adult pairs, we’ve again been seeing relationships blossoming between some of the juveniles from 2022. Liberty, who was hatched by Kevin & Wally, has been paying close attention to one of our three-year-old choughs; Archirondel. We have also been seeing mutual preening going on between some of the juveniles; Pine, one of Lee & Caûvette’s young from 2022 has taken to Aspen, one of Percy & Icho’s young from 2022. This may just be the juveniles learning to be attentive, in practice for future mates – but we can hope that this might bring forward some more real wild hatched chicks in the near future.
Chough foraging spots
Over the years it has been clear that the choughs spend a lot of time around the Les Landes area, whether that be at the Racecourse grounds, the model airfield or the tower. Les Landes provides the choughs with large stretches of semi-natural grassland to forage on; so, you can see the attraction. We’ve recently had sightings of pairs of choughs in Les Landes; namely Minty & Rey and Trevor & Noirmont. Minty & Rey may start foraging more often in this area once they start setting up their nest; but for the rest of the choughs, they’ll more likely be sticking a bit closer to the Sorel area; unless insect numbers here are too sparse. Interestingly, Lee & Cauvette, formerly almost resident at Les Landes, while undoubtedly doing well have not been seen at the Racecourse for many months.
Only one ‘wild’ nest box left!
At the end of the month, one of the nest-boxes installed on the cliffs eight years ago (in February 2015) in case there were too few natural crevices and caves available for nesting, was destroyed by the stormy weather. Our chough student, Kira, was able to pick up the pieces close to the cliffpath some distance east of where the box had been installed. Of three boxes installed on the cliffs in 2015, only one now remains and, while inspected, none have been used by the choughs! The same design of chough nest box has proven successful for nesting in other places around the Island and, although these cliff boxes haven’t persuaded a chough to use them as a nest yet, with the growing population, there is still a chance the remaining box will be used in the future – or even be used by another, grateful, bird species.